Freedom From Religion Foundation Offers $1,000 Reward


(MADISON, WI) The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s gilt Winter Solstice” sign lasted only a week at the Wisconsin State Capitol before being defaced late Monday.

It apparently was sprayed on both sides with some type of corrosive substance. Anne Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for defacing the freethought message.

While damaging the sign’s beauty, the words are still legible:

It says:

“At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. “There is only our natural world. “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

The Foundation had asked the Capitol police for special attention in protecting the sign, for which the Foundation has a permit. Last year, the inserts containing the message were stolen and never recovered. The Capitol Police have surveillance videos at all exits. The back of the sign, also damaged, reads: “State/Church: Keep Them Separate,” and carries a little taped-on caveat, advising “Thou shalt not steal.”

“We feel very sad about this,” said Gaylor, who authored the sign’s message.

“It seems to be a reflection of a change for the worse in our society–increased intolerance and right-wing aggression. Our small token Winter Solstice sign was not tampered with for the first five years we erected it, then was stolen last year, and mutilated this year.

“This vandalism was certainly the work of a fanatical religionist who thinks the Capitol belongs only to believers at Christmas. There was a week-long ‘interfaith’ display last week, the annual nativity pageant with angels everywhere, and the ‘tree lighting ceremony’ with Christian overtones. A menorah with godly text by it is placed every year. There ought to be room at the State Capitol for the views of atheists and agnostics, too.”


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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